Posts filed under 'Men's'

Q&A: What to Wear on Safari

Q:  My husband and I will be touring southern Africa. We are from the most southern area of Arizona and see that the temps in S.A. are quite cool in May…in fact, they look cold! I heard from a lady who was headed to Africa the next week that every color other than the khakis and brown tones were not allowed. Has anyone heard of this clothing color rule?

Corners of the Globe Safari Shirtby Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A:  How ironic, as I read your question, I was having tea with a good friend from Knysna, South Africa.  She had never heard of color restrictions on safari–unless you are on a walking safari (in which case your game lodge should inform you of restrictions). 

To be practical, you may want to wear khaki clothes so as not to show dirt and dust and (should the weather be warmer than expected) to deflect some heat.  If you get cold, as you suggest, you may want to look for darker colors, which will hold in the heat.  

In the cities, my friend said to expect colors similar to those worn in Miami - bright and tropical.  Dress in layers, as the temperatures will vary dramatically throughout the day and evening.  It cools down a lot in the evenings, and FYI a lot of buildings aren’t heated.

As for where to find clothes, Orvis online has great travel clothes.  One last tip?  Remember to bring practical shoes and a hat. 

Have a great tip about what to wear on safari?

  Share it with us in the comments!

Pictured:
Corners of the Globe Safari Shirt | $69 at Orvis.

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

2 comments January 11th, 2008

Q&A: What’s the Ideal Shirt Length for a Man?

Q:  What is the ideal shirt length on a guy wearing a button down shirt untucked? Is it really ugly if it is too long? It seems that if the shirt shows underneath a closed blazer, it would be bad.

Slim Fit Multi Stripe Dress Shirtby John Liu

A: 
The ideal shirt length for a guy, whether it’s a button down, a polo, or a t-shirt, is halfway down the zipper (assuming your pants actually fit you). 

If you wear something over the shirt -  a sweater, a vest, a jacket, a blazer – tuck your shirt in, unless it’s a properly fitted t-shirt.

While we’re on the subject of fit, make sure the rest of the shirt fits.  As with jackets, you should fit your shirt based on how it fits on your shoulders.  This is because you can shorten a shirt’s sleeves or length, and you can take it in at the waist, but you can’t change the shoulder (it’s also a comfort thing).  The shoulder seam (the line of the shirt that connects the body of the shirt to the sleeve) should rest in the little gap between that little bump at the end of your collarbone and your arm. 

  • If you’re wearing a short-sleeve shirt, the sleeve should rest in the middle of your bicep, halfway between your elbow and shoulder. 
  • If you’re wearing a long sleeve shirt, the sleeve should end in the little gap on the side of your wrist (or, alternatively, about ¼ inch below the wrist bone).
  • If you’re wearing a button down, the buttons should not stretch the shirt when buttoned.  The collar should fit snugly – but not tightly – whether buttoned or not.


For basically everything I’ve just written but with pictures, check out Details’ guide on how to fit a shirt.

Style tip: This may all sound a lot, but trust me, if you find a shirt that fits properly in the shoulders, as described above, chances are, the rest will fit accordingly.  The bottom line: focus on the shoulder fit, and you’ll probably be all right.

Have a great tip about shirt length–or how to fit a shirt?

  Share it with us in the comments!

Pictured:
Slim Fit Multi Stripe Dress Shirt| $98 at Banana Republic.

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

2 comments January 9th, 2008

Q&A: The Best Colors for Pale Skinned Men

Q:  My husband is changing jobs and is in need of a more professional wardrobe, i.e. he’ll be wearing suits every day.  He has pale skin and dark brown hair with blue eyes.  We’re looking for more variety in his wardrobe color palette…do you have any rules about what colors go best with certain skin tones?

Gianni Agnelliby John Liu

A:  In general, pale skinned guys should stick to white, charcoal (I include gray and black in this category), navy and maybe some red; tell him to stay away from khaki and other similar earth tones.

I’m going to be forthright with you, though, because I don’t want your husband looking like a fool.  Forget about the wardrobe color palette.  It really shouldn’t be a big factor in determining your husband’s work clothes.  Be the best-dressed man in the office, but do it by wearing suits that are clean, tailored and sophisticated.  Trust me: don’t get caught up in what color looks the best with your husband’s skin.  If he wears a well fitted dark suit (think charcoal, gray and navy), a crisp white shirt, and a complementary tie, he will look fantastic, no matter how pale skinned he is.

The best advice I can give to you is to go to a trusted department store and take the time to figure out what looks good on him.  Find an employee that you think has good style and have him help you mix and match suits/shirts/ties.  Also, go to a really upscale store - they won’t let you leave the store looking bad.  This isn’t some shameless and cliché sales pitch for your nearby Wilkes Bashford; I say this because those kinds of stores don’t want to be associated with poorly dressed guys.  I realize that going to an expensive store is, well, expensive, and not everyone may be able to/willing to pay those prices.  Just remember: you’re not obligated to buy anything, and you will have a great sense of what looks good on your husband after you leave.

On a side note, if your spouse wants to copy a celebrity’s style, make it Gianni Agnelli.  Mr. Agnelli is a sartorial legend and is considered one of the best dressed men in history, which is all the more impressive given the fact that he worked in the conservative world of business (meaning that loud, outlandish suits and such aren’t tolerated).  The picture above is proof.

Style Tip: You can always learn from Mr. Agnelli.  In this picture, check out the impeccable tailoring of his suit (it’s a bespoke, I’m sure), the Italian shoulder, and the crisp white shirt.  The tie is perfect.  It’s the perfect width for the collar width (an often overlooked detail of proportion), and it’s a perfect color – the gray base matches the suit, the white stripes pick up the shirt).  The pocket square is a perfect finishing touch and a perfectly complementary color.

Have a great tip about great colors for pale skin?

  Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

1 comment January 2nd, 2008

Q&A: How to Wear Military Green Pants

Q:  I’m a 20 year old guy, and I’ve just bought a pair of military green pants and I don’t know what to wear with them or more precisely which colour to wear with them. And I’m looking forward to looking cool and smart in them to impress the girls at university.

Polo Ralph Lauren English Wale Corduroy Pantsby John Liu

A: 
When I think of what to wear with army green or olive green pants, I usually think of urban chic jackets, like this fantastic one by Balenciaga which you can find at Browns.  Unfortunately, at 840GBP, it’s hardly “affordable.” 

Army Green is still kind of an uncommon color in a man’s wardrobe –that doesn’t mean it’s not very stylish – but because of this, it can easily serve as the focal point of your outfit.  I also think this is why you don’t see many army green colored pants – it’s a bit unusual to have your pants be the focus of your outfit.
   
If you’re brave enough to be different, however, look good doing it.  The most important thing here is that you make sure the rest of your clothes don’t clash.  Your pants will attract the most attention; don’t fight it. Opt for earthy tones here; think cream or off-white, khaki and brown.  You can also try the most versatile color of them all: white.  If the pants have an olive component to them, you can dry dark navy shirt.  As for shoes, I’d recommend wearing some dark brown shoes, preferably in a lace-up style.
   
If your pants are more of a richer dark — as in I’d-think-they-were-black-if-it-wasn’t-sunny dark — you have a few more options.  You can try pairing the rich dark green pants with a medium gray tweed sport coat.  With this sport coat, you could try adding a dark red or maroon cardigan underneath.  Notice I say cardigan and not sweater here: a full red sweater may be overwhelming here, but a cardigan will add just a splash of red beneath your buttoned sport coat. 

Oh, and by the way, if you go to an American university, it seems as if all you need to get girls is talk: like my friend Timothy’s, your clever-sounding British accent will drive the girls here nuts.  Maybe I should have told you all the wrong things and level the playing field here for my fellow Americans.

Style Tip: If you ever are unsure of what color to wear with something, find a color wheel (google image search “color wheel”).  In general, colors that are close to the color in question—or those that are on the opposite side of the color wheel–will go well with it.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you should pair a very loud orange with equally loud yellow just because they sit next to each other.  In general, you want to pick colors (and shades of colors) that complement one another, not those that aggressively compete for attention. As you’ll find, darker colors are easier to complement; this is why most dark colors, such as navy, are so versatile and popular.

Pictured: Polo Ralph Lauren English Wale Corduroy Pants | $98 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Have a great tip about how to wear military green pants?

  Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

1 comment December 27th, 2007

Q&A: Where to Find Affordable Skinny Suits

Q:  I want a skinny suit, but I’m trying not to spend over $1000.  Ideally I want cream since I’m very dark brown. I have a beautiful orange on dark orange Dolce tie and I was thinking of going with a gray shirt. Any ideas for me?

 Ben Sherman \'Kensington\' Seersucker SuitA: 
You’re right that dark brown skin looks great in light colors–so cream is a good choice for you.  We found a narrow-cut, lightweight suit that you may like from Ben Sherman, known for "Carnaby" style fitted shirts and suits.

If it’s not available online in your size, you might want to contact Nordstrom (or other department stores) to see if they have it in stock.  Also ask for discounts–you might be able to snag a 10%+ discount from an in-store sale.

As for what to wear with the suit, the tie should complement the color of the shirt and/or suit.  We like the cream suit with white shirt look, and with this, we’d recommend finishing off the outfit with a metallic silver patterned tie for a classic look. 

Pictured:
Ben Sherman ‘Kensington’ Seersucker Suit | $595 at Nordstrom.  Note: This suit is currently only available in brown.

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

1 comment December 19th, 2007

Q&A: What’s the Purpose of the Lapel Hole on a Suit Jacket?

Q: What is the little hole in a man’s suit jacket for?  It’s right above the pocket, not very big, right on the flap part.

 HUGO \'Awe/Holl\' Two Button SuitBy John Liu

A:  There are a few common explanations out there.  Some will tell you it is simply a way to proudly display your college pin, back when going to college was really special.  Another explanation relates to a story from way back in 1840.  As the story goes, Queen Victoria gave Prince Albert a bouquet of flowers, and having no place to put it, he cleverly cut a hole in his jacket lapel and put the flowers through it.  From then on, the Prince had his tailor make a buttonhole in all his suits.

But as far as I know, the most historically accurate explanation is that the hole was used to tether a man’s top hat so that on windy days it wouldn’t blow off his head.

Nowadays, few men actually wear top hats, so the little hole has become almost functionless (although there are some designers that manufacture top hats that can be tethered).  However, some creative sartorialists have found a use for this otherwise pointless buttonhole.  My favorite has got to be the putting a pocket watch chain fob through it.  Scott Schumann, perhaps better known as “The Sartorialist,” ran a feature in GQ in which he put his iPod headphones through the hole.  I have great respect for Mr. Schumann and GQ, but I don’t think it looks all that great.

If you’re thinking of wearing a top hat just so you can use this buttonhole, I’d suggest against it.  Ancient is not the same as old school.  Leave the top hats to your grandfather and the Monopoly man.

Pictured:  HUGO ‘Awe/Holl’ Two Button Suit | $795 at Nordstrom.

Have a great tip about how to use this buttonhole?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

13 comments December 12th, 2007

Q&A: What to Wear With a Puffer Vest

Q:  I want to wear my off-white puffer vest with my dark gray Earnest Sewn Jeans but I have no clue what to wear beneath the vest. Any suggestions, aside from black?

Gap Puffer VestA:  You’re on the right track–the key to wearing a puffer vest is layering.  Since the puffer vest is, in fact, puffy, you’re going to want a thin layer (or two) underneath.  Layering tees work well here, as do thin cable knit sweaters (for texture). 

As for the color of the undershirt, off-white and grey does naturally pair well with black, as you suggested.  But to spice up the look, combine the neutral off-white and grey with a bright color.  My first choice would be orange, which looks lovely with grey jeans and whose warm hue will pair well with the off-white vest.  Don’t like orange?  A warm shade of bright green will also bring out the best in both neutrals.

Pictured: Puffer Vest | $59.50 at Gap.

Have a great tip about what to wear with a puffer vest?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Add comment December 11th, 2007

Q&A: How to Combat Hat Hair

Static GuardQ:  While I love hats, do you have any good tips on how to keep hair looking good after taking the hat off? I always end up with flat, lifeless hair.

A:  Hats are the ultimate in chic accessories, but they have the unfortunate side effect of giving you Hat Hair.  Hat Hair comes in two strains (that aren’t mutually exclusive): Matted Hair and Static-y Hair.  You can try to minimize Hat Hair’s effects by wearing hats of lighter weight or those that don’t have an extremely tight fit, but sometimes you just can’t prevent it.  Here’s what to do if you have a case of Hat Hair:

Matted Hair:  Apply a bit of volumizing spray to your roots and use your fingers to give your hair some oomph.

Static-y Hair:  Spray a bit of Static Guard onto your hairbrush and run it through your hair.  Don’t have Static Guard and a brush?  In a pinch, you can apply a touch of hand lotion to your hair with your fingers to get rid of static.

Pictured: Static Guard Spray | $4.99 at Walgreens.

Have a great tip about how to combat hat hair?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Add comment December 6th, 2007

Q&A: How to Buy a Blazer

Q: I’m 18 years old and need a blazer. I’m about 120 lbs and 5′9”, so I’m having trouble finding one that fits properly. Do you know of any good places I would be able to find something like that?  And would it be easier if I just bought one that fit across the shoulders and had it taken in?

Obey Corduroy BlazerBy John Liu

A:  First of all, I applaud your desire to find a) a blazer and b) a blazer that fits properly, especially at age 18.  You will really appreciate having this blazer when you go out for a nice dinner or a night on the town (read: lounges and clubs that have unspoken dress code policies) in college.

There really are two answers to you questions, both of which you touched on.  The current trend is to sport slim fitting suits, not those boxy cuts you may be used to seeing older gentlemen wearing.  Fortunately for people like us who favor slimmer silhouettes, designers across the board are making plenty of slim fitting jackets.  As a result, most respectable department and retail stores will have the slimmer jackets you are looking for.  Forbes.com even ran a feature on how the new Gorden Gekko business “power suit” is actually a slim fitting two or three-piece suit, not the boxy cuts that most execs seem to wear.

I myself wear a Paul Smith London suit and a Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer often; both jackets needed limited tailoring, so I would suggest checking them out first, if you are looking for specific designers. 

The second part of the answer is yes, it is easier to buy one that fits across the shoulders and have it taken in.  In fact, this is really the only way to buy any suit, tux, or blazer.  Why?  The shoulder is the one place that even great tailors will not touch.  You should still go for designers that are slimmer fitting, however, since excessively slimming the sides can lead to all kinds of problems that may require more tailoring.
   
If this is your first blazer, I would strongly advise buying a wool navy blazer.  It’s a staple in a man’s wardrobe and is quite versatile.  Check out our article on the navy blazer.  Read that article even if you aren’t getting a blue one; it will let you know the “right” way the blazer should fit and give you a few suggestions of what to wear with it.  If this is your second blazer, opt for a gray blazer (go darker than lighter).  If this is your 3rd or later, you have a few options here, not only with color, but with fabric – maybe you want a velvet blazer for the winter (especially if you live in the East) or a more casual canvas or cord blazer.


Pictured:  Obey Corduroy Blazer | $199 at Ben Sherman.

Have a great tip about how to buy a blazer?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

1 comment December 5th, 2007

Q&A: What to Wear with Black Pinstriped Pants

Q: What would be a good shirt and tie combination to wear with black pinstriped pants? I am fair skinned with blonde hair & blue eyes.

Straight Black Pinstripe Dress ChinoBy John Liu

A:  Some guys try to go stripe-happy (striped suit, striped shirt, striped tie) and end up looking like the result of a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy makeover.  Now, it’s not impossible to do, but it’s very difficult.  I myself avoid it, but if you want to try it, make sure your stripes are of different sizes.  Most suits have relatively thin pinstripes, so this means finding a shirt and tie with thicker stripes.  Honestly, I haven’t seen very many pull off the triple threat very well, with one exception being Isaac Ferry (rocker Bryan Ferry’s son) in the July 2007 GQ.  But then again, he only looks good because he knows he looks good. 

For a more subdued look, try a simple solid shirt and solid tie.  You can try matching your tie and the pinstripes (unless they’re white).  Silver tie with silver pinstripes and a blue shirt always looks good.  Some check-patterned shirts look great here too.  You can’t go wrong with a crisp white oxford here either.  If your suit has a navy base, a purplish/blue tie will do well here.  You can also try a houndstooth-patterned tie or a dark colored dotted tie.  Or for something a little different, try a textured wool knit tie.  You can also try wearing a suit without a tie, à la Tom Ford (although I’d suggest buttoning your shirt a bit higher than he does, unless you know you look good).

Long story short, you have a wealth of choices to wear with pinstripes, which is why the pinstriped suit is a classic and a staple of the well-dressed man’s wardrobe.  Want more ideas?  Go pick up any issue of GQ or Esquire.  You’re guaranteed to find some great examples of pinstriped suits.

Pictured: Straight Black Pinstripe Dress Chino | $78 at Banana Republic.

Have a great tip about what to wear with black pinstriped pants?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

1 comment November 28th, 2007

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